Summary: 2nd sermon of this title by me ten years apart. This one is for Christmas 2015 - uses a metaphor that Christmas eve is a splash of colour on a black backdrop of history. I will probably do a painting as I preach it.

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Christmas eve.

A night to remember

LK 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

LK 2:13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

LK 2:14 "Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

LK 2:15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

LK 2:16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Ever have anything happen to you, so startling, that it is engraved into your memory?

For most of my generation we remember with considerable impact the events of 911 – a great tragedy when the innocence and beauty of our world was marred by hatred. Or the events of a few years ago when we watched with shock at the events of the Christchurch earthquake these somewhat negative events are firmly etched in our memories.

But what about the great positive events – what about the time Mahe Drysdale powered over the line in the rowing or when the All Blacks won their second world cup after such a great period of loss or when a child was born in your family. Do you know for many of you your birth is a night to remember for your family?

So we have great positive memories and some negative ones as well.

What would it look like if we had a great positive memory with the backdrop of a very negative one?

Like the Titanic sinking whose negfative aspect seemed to be the sinking of the ship which was described as unsinkable – the pride of British engineering – so overconfident that it’s arrogance towards safety and disorganisation meant 1517 people perished.

But with this backdrop people did great things people went willingly to their deaths so that others could live. With the dark backdrop of pride and disorganisation the oil of love and sacrifice were splashed on the Titanic canvas and painted a beautiful picture that somehow gave meaning to meangless loss.

But the night we remember tonight that never seems to get out of the consciousness of the world even in these days of humanism and terror is this amazing event called Christmas eve.

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